In my years of doing interviews and roundtables and Q&A’s for the various films we’ve made, there is one question that recurs. No matter the length of the piece or the tone of the room, eventually, inevitably, I am asked about the white gaze. It wasn’t until a very particular interview regarding The Underground Railroad that the blindspot inherent in that questioning became clear to me: never, in all my years of working or questioning, had I been set upon about the Black gaze; or the gaze distilled.Continue reading “A ‘Gaze’ into the Soul of ‘The Underground Railroad’”
While Marvel Comics has never allowed Sam Wilson to remain Captain America, it is good to see they have decided to allow him to hold the title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the comics, they engineered an excuse for him to become Captain America and when they were done with the story arc, Steve Rogers reclaimed his title and his shield.Continue reading “I Am Captain America: Get Used to It”
By Contributing Writer, Stephanie Wu
Wonder Woman 1984’s second trailer debuted at DC FanDome, kicking off DC Comic’s first virtual fan event. With a generous sprinkle of sweet moments shared by Diana and a much more wondrous Steve after their reunion, the film’s second trailer featured several fight sequences and gives a solid glimpse at Cheetah, Diana’s colleague-turned-villain played by Kristen Wiig.
by Adam Chau
Since the finale of HBO’s Watchmen, I’ve been trying to reconcile my initial and absolute love for the show along with the eventual (and building) disappointment that I felt by the final episode for the Vietnamese characters and lịch sử brought into the show — but also keeping in mind that at its heart it’s a story about a Black Female Protagonist, the impetus for PTSD the Tulsa Race Riots, aka Massacre (which people still don’t know about), and the trauma and rising of a Black American lineage — không gia đình Việt Nam.
In that way it’s not a straight line from one thought to one conclusion — it’s the questions and the feelings they’ve brought up, their validity in a fictional world clearly designed to take on racism by POC, where there is inclusivity, but where I also can’t help but feel some of the underlying tones are still a recycle of already recycled stories, fictional and beleaguered, where Vietnamese and Asian Americans are still not fully embraced.
by Jamal Igle
(Warning: This essay is filled with spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)
By Russell Fung
Did anyone ask for a sequel to Sleeping Beauty?
I used to write English-language screenplays for a feature animation studio in China. They hired me to write sequels to Snow White and Cinderella, asking me to infuse Western humor so that it would appeal to an international audience. The experience was difficult because nobody could agree on what the story and message had to be. I was told, “It’s a movie for children, so don’t take the themes too far or too serious. It doesn’t have to be logical or make sense. It just has to be fun and pretty.” I left the projects amicably, because I didn’t want to write a generic story that didn’t resonate with the current human condition.
By Esther Kim
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil reunites Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) as they face their biggest challenge: growing up.
Sure, there are the fey people wanting to come from behind the shadows and a potential battle between them and humans, especially with an evil queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) pulling the strings from behind the throne. But the main story is really the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora.
“I feel the huge part of the success from the first film is that it had a strong emotional core,” said director Joachim Rønning during the global press conference in Beverly Hills. “I think that was the most important to me to continue telling that story. The story about Maleficent and Aurora. That’s what I can relate with as a parent, myself.”
I went to Aquaman for two reasons: First, the ticket was free. Second, this is basically underwater Magic Mike, right? I came for the pecs, I stayed for the pecs. But also for the analysis of what it is to be of two cultures. I mean races. I mean… worlds?
Some time back, I watched a documentary about master Fumio Demura, one of the first to bring authentic Japanese karate (Shito-ryu) to the United States. I thought of him because he was Pat Morita’s stunt double for the Karate Kid movies.
One of the things that struck me about the documentary was his struggles to integrate into our culture, his uncertainty about sharing his cultural treasure with us, the degree to which his masters in Japan didn’t really want him sharing (“cultural appropriation,” anyone?) and his superhuman efforts to create not just a life of meaning but to uplift the children of Japan’s former antagonist.
As he is struggling with health issues now, the story is all the more poignant. One of the most affecting portions was his interactions with Pat Morita. Morita adored him, and the respect was fully returned. The “Mr. Miyagi” character was greatly beloved in Demura’s social and professional circles, and Morita was a superstar, the one who had “made it.” They were so happy that he had made it, and his success was a beacon of hope and pride to the Japanese-American community. The love and admiration at a testimonial dinner when Morita took the podium was unmistakable. The shining faces made me so happy.
by Benjamin To
I finally understand now why this machine took ten years to assemble. This film is pure spectacle in every best sense of the word. Once the first second starts rolling, it’s all pedal to the metal for 149 minutes.
Want to play a superhero on TV? Note: you might have to be green. And I’m not talking about the Hulk.
Casting directors are currently searching high and low for an Asian teen to star in Titans, a live-action adaptation of DC Comics’ Teen Titans from Warner Bros. Television/DC Entertainment.
The open casting call from Rapaport/Baldasare Casting seeks a 13 to 15 year old Asian male to play the series regular role of “Jax,” who is described as “funny, self-deprecating and charming.”
With the latest release from Netflix, it turns out that Asian Americans will continue to get the shaft in 2017.
In March, Netflix released their trailer for the American adaptation of Death Note, a wildly popular manga series, which debuted on the world’s leading Internet television network on August 25. Death Note is a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. As of 2015, the series has over 30 million copies in circulation worldwide and has won international awards as well as numerous award nominations domestically in Japan. It is regarded as one of the top 10 manga series of all time. It also happens to be one of my favorites, so this fight on racist bullshit has just became personal.
The 3rd Annual Black Girl Nerds of Color Meetup, also known under the hashtag #BGNOC was a success! The idea of the meetup was a collaborative effort by Keith Chow managing editor of The Nerds of Color, Jamie Broadnax managing editor of Black Girl Nerds, and Arturo Garcia Editor-At-Large at Racialicious.
Hell yes. Fellow Trekkies, rejoice. The first-look trailer for the new CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has dropped, and the latest foray into the final frontier looks pretty damn awesome, not least because of one badass looking starship captain in the form of one Michelle Yeoh. MICHELLE FRICKIN YEOH.
On Monday morning we released our summer collection that included our new Wonder Woman Denim Jacket. Out of everything new we are creating this year, this is the one piece I am most excited for. Wonder Woman is FINALLY getting her own live action film after almost 40 years since Linda Carter’s iconic TV version. Fortunately, in the past few years, we have seen more social advocating for equal representation of gender, orientation, and race in our favorite comics, TV, and films. Much has changed. Much has not.
by Andrea Tang
This weekend, between bouts of story-editing, I meandered my way through the first four episodes of Netflix’s Iron Fist, which I’m actually quite enjoying so far, probably for the same reasons I’ve seen Vampire Academy three times. I’m pretty sure the writers pitched this series as, “What would happen if you put a goldendoodle puppy in the body of a WASPy ten-year-old blue blood, then traumatically dropped him off in the Himalayas for Fifteen Whole Gap Yahs? Probably, he would die, but that is boring and untrue to comics canon, so what if we made kung fu magic happen along the way in a manner most likely to bring the wrath of Edward Said’s ghost down on our heads? LET’S FIND OUT.”
Yesterday, Finn Jones, the actor playing Danny Rand on the Netflix debut of Marvel’s live action version of Iron Fist abruptly quit twitter. He wasn’t being harrassed, he wasn’t threatened, there was no controversy. In fact, to most observers, he simply seemed to be having a conversation. This raised more than a few eyebrows, especially since the show is set to debut in less than two weeks on March 17.
On Sunday night, Jones appears to have gotten into a discussion on twitter with Asyiqin Haron, a 21 year old artist from Singapore who also happens to be the creative director for Geeks of Color, (Heron’s comments are from her own personal twitter account and she was not representing GOC or tweeting from their account when she made them).
Ms. Marvel! Shang Chi! Silk! Amadeus Cho! Has there ever been such an awesome assemblage of Asian American superheroes under the banner of Marvel Comics? Possibly probably not… until now.
Writer Greg Pak recently teased the upcoming cover of Totally Awesome Hulk #15, suggesting that this is the most significant grouping of Asian American superheroes that has ever starred in a mainstream comic book.
In Totally Awesome Hulk #15, kid genius Amadeus Cho — aka The Hulk — is slowly learning how to become a team player, but has to learn fast when Ms. Marvel, Shang Chi, Silk and a host of other heroes come to town.
In a time where representation is such a hot topic in Hollywood, Netflix’s The OA does something few have done: cast an actual Asian transgender teenage boy as an Asian transgender teenage boy. Vietnamese-American teen Ian Alexander is one of multiple Asian actors in The OA’s main cast alongside Filipino/Puerto Rican-American Brandon Perea and British Pakistani Riz Ahmed (in a recurring role). Continuing the spotlight from his response to a viral anti-trans photo, Ian makes his on-screen acting debut as Buck Vu in the newly-released show having been cast from an online open casting call in 2015.
Growing up in places including Japan, Hawai’i, and D.C. have helped shape Ian. The fifteen-year-old high school junior has had more experiences than most teenagers his age, and his passion knows no bounds. He’s politically vocal, a huge admirer of actors and filmmakers like Jen Richards (Her Story) and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and relentless as a Marvel fanboy (he’s “Team Bucky” for those who are curious). Ian had time to sit down and talk about his upbringing and the show (don’t worry, there are no spoilers here).
In the summer of 2008, there I was: A fresh-faced, 19-year-old pharmacy school dropout, a few months removed from stepping off the plane from humble Oregon and on to hopeful California soil. I had no direction of where I was going or knowledge of how to accomplish my lofty goals, but I knew I wanted one thing and one thing only: I wanted to be a part of cinema.
by Timothy Yu
Mike Pence went to see Hamilton. He got booed. The actors read a statement from the stage. And our president-elect tweeted a demand that the cast apologize for their “harassment.” Just another day in the dawning Trump Era.
There was plenty to say. Some pointed out the irony of Donald Trump, scourge of political correctness, complaining that the theater should be a “safe place.” Others pointed to the chilling precedent of our incoming president demanding that artists apologize to an elected official. But what most surprised me was seeing some of my friends — many of whom are themselves artists, writers, literary scholars — repeating the argument that the Hamilton controversy was “just a distraction” from Trump’s other problems.
There is an old fairy tale popularized by Hans Christian Andersen as The Little Mermaid. I’m one of those odd first-and-a-half generation Vietnamese American immigrants, and tales of living in between spaces have always held my attention. The story goes that a little princess from a world under water wants to live on the land. She falls in love, exchanges her tongue for a pair of legs, and finds herself thrust into the unenviable circumstance of navigating a strange space where she literally has no voice. Ultimately finding no place for her in the world for which she had given up everything, she casts herself off the side of a ship into the ocean, drowns, and dissolves into sea foam. Victorian sentiments about Christianity and moralizing stories for children eventually got Andersen to amend the ending. This is more or less the state of Asian American identity politics. We’re always finding ourselves caught between “where we come from” and wherever we yearn to belong.
The buzz around the 2017 Ghost in the Shell film, among many other film and television projects of its ilk in recent memory, has ignited a bevy of thinkpieces about cultural appropriation and the nature of Asian American identity politics. The topic is complicated.
Who would the 75 year old quintessential American superhero vote for in the 2016 Presidential election today? For starters, Captain America does not exist. But although he might be fictional his mythology is palpable. Its ethereal connection to us Americans has a physical manifestation.
Trust me. I know. I get to don the uniform of this character armed with my turban and beard. I have traveled from Maine to California to Mississippi to Michigan to the RNC convention in Cleveland engaging fellow Americans from all walks of life.
This uniform has allowed for conversations to start in the midst of fear and ambivalence. It has allowed for common bonds to emerge despite our perceived and real differences